In meditation we’re learning from Nature rather than from society, so you have to train in terms of wilderness awareness: to learn from your bodily intelligence. Otherwise, if you’re trying to get your business-model, ‘get it done’ mind, to take you to samādhi (concentration or calm) it’s like riding an elephant as if you’re driving a taxi: you implant stress onto a natural process and that constricts your awareness.
All delusions begin in the mind.
All delusions are based on various ways we’re talking to ourselves and then believing what we are saying.
It is in the brain that everything takes place….
It is in the brain that the poppy is red, that the apple is odorous, that the skylark sings.
Oscar Wilde, De Profundis
We are sick with fascination for the useful tools of names and numbers, of symbols, signs, conceptions and ideas. Meditation is therefore the art of suspending verbal and symbolic thinking for a time, somewhat as a courteous audience will stop talking when a concert is about to begin.
As Sylvia Boorstein frequently reminds us, the moment in which the mind acknowledges ‘This isn’t what I wanted, but it’s what I got’ is the point at which suffering disappears. We are here now, the future is always uncertain. Our practice is to stay grounded and be open to what arises in awareness
The practice of mindfulness is very simple.
You stop, you breathe, and you still your mind.
You come home to yourself so that you can enjoy the here and now in every moment
Thich Nhat Hahn, Silence
Those of you who have been following the blog for a while know that I like the teachings of Ajahn Sucitto and the Thai Forest tradition, so I turned to one of his works this week on how to work with the interior feeling states provoked at times like this. The practice of meditation is much more than just calming, but moves into clearly seeing the dynamics behind our changing mind states:
What feels wrong at this time? What shouldn’t be here right now? Whatever it is, accept it. The more you don’t want it, the bigger it gets. How do you want things to be right now? Relinquish it. The more you want it, the farther you push it away. Daily life practice is to keep working against that bhava-vibhava, especially the vibhava [the urge to be nothing] that keeps saying “I’m fed up with this. I’ve had enough of this. I don’t want to be in this situation. I can’t stand this another minute!” Accept it; Sidestep the topic and welcome the energy as it arises. I find this very helpful when the mind panics. Then as I look into that, I see that it all nestles down inside that sense of lack, of being deprived of my space, my time or my peace of mind. The cry for peace of mind can get pretty aggressive when it comes out of the place of hanging on!
Ajahn Sucitto, Parami, Ways to Cross Life’s Floods